In our prior article, we wrote about the importance of measuring the ROI of your marketing initiatives and the need to “nurture” your leads before they can become customers. This section explores other common mistakes and misconceptions that lead to poor results in many organizations struggling with B2B marketing.

Lack of functional alignment between sales and marketing

Organizations often have the following dynamic: the Sales team asks Marketing to build “marketing” decks that help them go hunting for clients, only to realize that the decks don’t quite get the job done. They then need to make changes to those decks and create new, better and more compelling decks hoping that these iterative changes will surely lead to conversions. Sound familiar?

This dynamic leads to a constant back and forth between sales and marketing that produces thousands of useless slides but not a lot of prospect engagement and even fewer actual sales. It keeps everyone busy, but it also leads to growing mistrust between the two teams as sales reps tend to blame marketing for the decks not being up to par, and marketing will believe that the sales team can’t convert prospects even armed with the best marketing collateral they could get. As you can imagine, this dynamic does not lead to growth for the company.

Organizations that have achieved exponential growth realize that Marketing is in charge of generating demand, not the Sales team. Sales reps have an essential job - they must convert that demand into paying customers, but they are notoriously bad at generating demand in the first place, even if they know the market well. This is why the decks commissioned by sales and created by Marketing are so ineffective. It is an example of Sales trying to generate demand when it should be Marketing that drives that effort. They are simply trying to do the wrong job.

Some of the most successful organizations we have worked with have a healthy dynamic and tight working relationship between sales and marketing. Instead of asking for more and more sales decks, the Sales team helps the Marketing team understand their clients’ challenges and demonstrates how their organization’s products and services fit into the overall market and into the workflows of their customers.

Armed with that knowledge, Marketing creates content custom-tailored to their ideal prospects. It utilizes that content in a broader marketing strategy that nurtures prospects and helps sales do their jobs: Covert prospects into paying clients. Once Marketing brings the sales team a flow of qualified leads filled with prospects that already know and trust the organization, sales consequently have an easier time pitching and closing deals. Sales teams have fewer and fewer outbound cold calls instead of fielding inbound calls with prospects who have already decided to work with your organization.

In this scenario, conversion rates skyrocket.

Not understanding the customer journey.

Why are most cold sales calls unsuccessful at closing deals? Simply put, your prospects are not yet ready to pull the trigger, even if your product can make their lives demonstrably easier.

B2B organizations need to understand the customer journey to effectively market to customers with long sales cycles. This means understanding the different stages that a customer goes through, from awareness to consideration to purchase, and tailoring marketing efforts to each stage. Failure to do so can lead to ineffective marketing efforts and missed opportunities.

Consider this scenario. Your organization sells a SAS product that you know your prospect needs. But when your sales rep calls them up, they are frustrated with a long sales cycle and indecisiveness on the side of the prospect. It is very likely that your prospect is simply not ready to sign up for your service or product. They need more time to get to know your brand, your team, your organization and your product offering. Building that rapport is precisely what a great content marketing strategy does and it helps your prospect travel in well defined, clear and effective customer journey.

During this journey, they may interact with your brand dozens of times, whether they read a blog post on your website, hear your name mentioned in the news, ask a colleague about you, or even run into a sales representative at a conference. These are all marketing touch points that become part of the customer journey. Not understanding these important touchpoints leads to much frustration and lots of time wasted on sales calls that leave nowhere.

Overlooking the power of customer testimonials

Finally, B2B organizations often overlook the power of customer testimonials in their marketing efforts. Testimonials are an effective tool for building trust and credibility with potential customers. By sharing success stories and testimonials from satisfied customers, B2B organizations can increase their chances of closing deals and generating new leads.

Customer testimonials are usually mapped to the last stage in your marketing funnel, we refer to that stage as “convert” – at the end of this phase, the prospect signs a deal and becomes a paying client.

In the convert phase, you are proving value to your customer. Examples of some content that work well here besides customer testimonials are case studies, methodology documents, and tutorials on your product or services.

Proof of value content such as testimonials make your prospect feel that there is social proof to using your brand and they are not alone. Being in good company always makes it easier to hop aboard.

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